Showing posts with label Living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2014, Year On a (Running) Shoestring

It's been a whole month since I've blogged anything at all, which is very naughty indeed. December was busy as ever with Christmas parties, meals and get-togethers.  And cake. Lots of cake.
My Beloved came back from Sheffield to join me for the Christmas break, and it was so amazing to be with him for a prolonged period. Since he's been studying back in the North, we've only had 3 nights together at a time for the whole semester, which puts a lot of pressure on you to have fun all the time, and makes those deep and meaningful conversations all the more urgent, but having him here with me in London for 2 1/2 weeks meant we could relax a bit and enjoy each other's company without always having one eye on the clock. I know lots of people are in long-distance relationships and I am not the only one going through this, but after 6 years of living together it can be incredibly difficult to adjust to a different life.
Me and Him.
Anyway, happy new year! This year, big things are happening.In June, he graduates, we get married, we go on honeymoon (to the US we hope), he starts his dream job and we set up home together once more! All this means that money needs to be saved, and after Christmas I am finding myself hyperventilating over the paltry sums in my current and savings accounts. Things are supertight in Funfashionable Towers, which means achieving my resolution to make the most of every day is going to be trickier, without masses of cash to throw at the situation.

Whilst everyone is frantically joining gyms and detoxing away, I made the decision today to cancel my gym membership. Like everyone else, I've gained a couple too many pounds after a month of over-indulgence, but if I want to get myself back on track financially, I need to cut back wherever I can and as my membership is £47.50 a month I'm finding it very hard to justify.

I visited earlier with every intention of cancelling but was told about the additional option to freeze my membership, for £10 a month for up to 3 months. This will save me £112.50 over 3 months, and means that if I manage to get myself into a good routine of exercising outside, I can go ahead and cancel anyway, but if I decide I miss my yoga and pilates classes too much and am in a better financial position, I can resume my membership without having to pay a joining fee again.

So here's the plan, fitness wise:

  • I freeze my membership for the three months - I probably get to keep using it until a certain point in the month
  • I start walking from Waterloo rather than Charing Cross to get to work, and Forest Hill rather than Sydenham to get home. That's an extra 1.1 mile a day.
  • I pick up Run, Fat Bitch Run again, and actually read it (I received it last Christmas but never finished it, probably in fear that if I carried on reading, I'd have to actually start running). 
  • I actually run.
  • I find some decent yoga videos online and crack out the 30 Day Shred DVD once more.
  • I drink far more water than I do now.
If you know of any great online workouts I'd love to hear about them, I'm looking to keep things interesting!

I mentioned making the most of every day. What I mean it, I don't want to feel like I spent this whole academic year away from the Boy yearning for him and sitting around waiting to see him, these are my last few months as an unmarried woman! I want to enjoy myself, I want to get out there, see my friends, meet new people, enjoy all London has to offer, and generally feel like I'm getting the most out of every opportunity that comes my way. This can be tricky on a shoe string, but there are plenty of free events and interesting things to do that don't cost the earth, so I am on the look out for every chance to spend a little, but live a lot!

My resolutions:
1. Have fun. All the time.
2. Stay off the cigs (I've had a very on off, on off year in my ongoing battle against nicotine, but I'm 2 1/2 weeks into my latest, and what I hope will be my final quit attempt)
3. Get fit. Get to the goal weight I just touched on before Christmas festivities took over, and stay there.
4. Make the most of my new camera. Get better at using it, be creative and confident with it, this is something we are hoping to do together once he's finished uni and is back for good, but it can't hurt to get a good start.
5. Be better at staying in touch with friends.
6. Be creative, sew more, procrastinate less. 
7. Read a book a week, and try and get some classics in there too.

Happy 2014!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Cosy Kettle at Somers Town Coffee House

I've just found the yummiest, scrummiest bar in town. Cosy Kettle is the new cocktail bar downstairs at the Somers Town Coffee House at Euston/King's Cross. Cosy by name, cosy by nature, this underground cellar with its comfy sofas and higgeldy piggeldy bookshelves serves a wonderful array of classic cocktails as well as some modern specials.

The big idea is.... coupling cocktails with cake! I like cake. I like cocktails. This is surely a winning combination. We sampled the battenburg special, a mini battenburg served with a cocktail, containing apricot liquer, chambord and a host of other yummy ingedients which I can't quite remember (hic!) in a combination designed to complement the cake itself. LUSH.

The Batten, the Burg and the Battenburg
I also tried the Lynchburg Lemondade, a strong, long drink made with Jack Daniels and triple sec, while my buddy had the Apple a Day which was also lipsmackingly good.

Lynchburg Lemonade and An Apple a Day
Cosy Kettle is about enjoying a drink and relaxing, and ultimately telling the snobbery around cocktails to do one. And what better way to get rid of the snobs than to shake a cake at them?

Cocktails come at around £8-9 each and the bar is open Tuesday to Saturday, licensed to 3am.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Highgate Cemetery (playing with my new camera)

The time finally came that I was able to buy my new camera. I LOVE it. It's the Panasonic Lumix GF5 which I bought for the princely sum of £200 inc P&P from this Amazon seller. Miraculously, I only ordered it on Thursday and it arrived on Friday, just in time for the weekend. The low price was due to the box being unsealed and a bit tatty but everything was in there and brand new, so I can live with a tatty box (in all honesty the tattiness is barely perceptible).

This weekend I headed up to my bestie's pad, back in my old North London stomping ground, which was a complete mission as the Northern Line and the Overground were borked. We popped to Muswell Hill for a charity shop raid, collecting some fatty bum-bum snacks and nestled in for the night with When Harry Met Sally, Little Mermaid and Enchanted. Just what the doctor ordered.

This morning, after a bracing brunch at Le Pain Quotidien in Highgate, we headed to Waterlow Park and Highgate Cemetery armed with our cameras for some experimentation.


I'm a beginner to any kind of real photography, but now I have the tools, I am looking forward to taking much better pictures. I'm now trawling the internet for the nicest case and the best memory card for my shiny new toy. I'm loving this cutie from Etsy.
Before heading North yesterday I popped in to look at couple of shops local to me in Sydenham, I came across Doorz, where I reserved an old table for £15, and so when I returned today, I popped around to pick it up. I've been desperate for a desk as I didn't want to use my sewing machine upstairs in the dining room and have to put it away each time I used it, or irritate my flatmate. The new addition is a bit scruffy and is basically a family dining table rather than a desk, but I think it's going to work for me.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Summing Up Summer

It's been a busy month or so. I moved house, went to see The Bodyguard, went to two weddings and a hen do, Notting Hill Carnival, Bicester Village, had a visit from my sister who's back from Oz, had my boyfriend who I've lived with for six years move back to the North to finish uni and have had an American houseguest to stay for the last week and a half. On top of this, work has been super busy, I've been visiting my grandmother and my internet connection has been extremely wonky if not non-existent at times.

Since we decided to move to London for Dave's placement job (his absolute dream role), we always knew that he'd be going back, and that I wouldn't be joining him. I got here and settled into a role at a great company with great people, and unfortunately while I was up north, nothing was happening for me career wise at all. Even though we knew we'd eventually have to part it came as quite a shock when the morning came that he caught that train. I told myself on that Thursday that I had that one day to mope and then I needed to get on with it and with all the distractions listed above and a mobile contract with unlimited minutes, it hasn't been too bad at all. We saw each other this weekend for his brother's wedding, which was a very emotional but happy day, but as he was best man he had many duties to perform so our quality time together was limited, but he looked very dapper, and did an amazing job!

Luckily it's his birthday this weekend so he is back in London at my side, and I'm going to spoil his rotten. He's choosing some new trainers, these Spiderman Vans are his current favourite and we'll eat, drink and make merry in the Capital.
Here's some recent photos that sum up the last couple of months
Three generations. Love you Nan, even if you don't remember me
Meat Market
Reunited with the sis
Pub Frustration
Loving Pizza Express's blue glassware, can I get 100 glasses for my wedding?
Hen Party Selfying
This seat took me 2 years to get round to doing, took me 20 minutes. Echino Nico Fabric, Stag Minstrel telephone table
Rum Punch at Notting Hill Carnival
Traffic People Dress, ready for wedding
Geek Wedding Centrepieces: Take car. Go to Mum's. Kill Phil - "Sorry." - grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over.
Best best man
Now Autumn is on its way, though these last throes of summer are going down a treat, I'm ready for some hibernating. Now that this summer's weddings are over, I've realised that the next one we attend is our own next June, when his studies are finally over. While most of the big stuff is done, there's still bridesmaids dresses and wedding rings to find, and more little details to finalise, which means some crafty days dreaming up table decorations with plenty of tea and biscuits, my homegirls, and good movies. Nice.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

From North to South (London)

I've moved to a new flat. I have gone from North London girl to South London girl.  I don't get a bus to work anymore, I get a train. I am in zone three. But I love it. My new area is much leafier and quieter than my old one. And our flat is to die for. There's a lot of work to do in my room. This is how it looked when the moving men had finished their work.

I know. But after an hour or so we'd cleared a decent space around the bed, so we could actually climb in, and also located some clothes, as we were due out that night (I went to see The Bodyguard, it was amazing).

Day by day it's improved. We sorted out the kitchen straight away, because ain't nobody that can do all that work on an empty stomach. And once this big brown cabinet is up we can fill it and free up some more space to actually concentrate on making it look nice. This is how it looked before my worldly possession took over.


I've had various Oyster and utility bill related financial disasters this month so am absolutely skint with more weddings and hen dos to attend before payday, so it's time to focus on  nesting, making my room nice and cosy and liveable rather than a box room with a bed in the middle.